Swastikas at Rego Park School Prompt Hate Crime Investigation

An anti-Semitic message scrawled on a Rego Park schoolyard last week. Photos via Councilmember Karen Koslowitz/Twitter.

An anti-Semitic message scrawled on a Rego Park schoolyard last week. Photos via Councilmember Karen Koslowitz/Twitter.

By David Brand

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state police would assist the NYPD in an ongoing hate crime investigation after dozens of swastikas and Nazi slogans were scrawled throughout a Rego Park schoolyard on Friday.

A hammer and sickle and the phrase “Hail Hitler” were also drawn on the yard at PS 139, while school was closed for winter break.

"I am appalled and disgusted by the Swastikas and other anti-Semitic symbols of hate that were scrawled in a Queens schoolyard,” Cuomo said in a statement Sunday. “In New York, we have zero tolerance for such vile acts of anti-Semitism. I am directing the State Police Hate Crimes Task Force to immediately assist the NYPD in the investigation of this hideous act and hold those accountable to the full extent of the law.

"New Yorkers stand with the Jewish community against anti-Semitism in all its forms, especially in the wake of the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in our nation's history,” Cuomo continued. “We declare that there is no hate in our state, and we will always stand together against hate and discrimination."

Councilmember Karen Koslowitz, State Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky and Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi denounced the anti-Semitic graffiti in a joint statement Friday afternoon.

“There is no place for this hatred anywhere, let alone in Queens. We will not tolerate such vile acts. The cowards who committed this disgusting crime will be pursued to the fullest extent of the law. We applaud the fast action of the school and the 112th precinct. The police will be investigating this matter as a hate crime and sharing more details with the community as the investigation continues,” the elected officials said.

Koslowitz also shared photos of the menacing vandalism on Twitter.

“I am horrified, disgusted, and nauseated, to say the least, of what I have witnessed today. Nazi imagery and anti-Semitic slurs were drawn at the PS 139 Playground in Rego Park,” she said. “I was on the scene today and most of the imagery has been washed away. Enough is enough!

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng also denounced the hateful graffiti in a statement.

“I am outraged and sickened that hate has reared its ugly head in our community,” Meng said. “The drawings found in the playground of P.S. 139 are disgusting and unacceptable and everybody throughout this diverse and welcoming borough must condemn these anti-Semitic images.”

“There is no place for hate in Queens or anywhere in our society and these acts will not be tolerated,” she continued. “I thank the hardworking detectives of the NYPD who are investigating and I hope the perpetrators are found and swiftly brought to justice.”